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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  June 11, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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james comey. take a listen. >> frustrating for republicans like me. you may be the first president in history to go down because you can't inappropriately talking about an investigation that if you were just kwie it would clear you. it's frustrating to me to want to help a man who would do big things like no other republican may be. donald trump may deliver us from a broken immigration. this is not helping. >> their comments coming two days before attorney general jeff sessions will testify before that committee. here are susan collins and democrat senator diane feinstein. >> the president clearly does not fully understand or appreciate the boundaries wboun he should. i'm not excusing his behavior but there where a lot of people in government that should have set him strait and we don't know whether they tried to. >> republican or democrat, when
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you serve in the house or the senate, you are accustomed to stability in the white house. you are accustomed to the protocols that go along with it. you are very careful about what you do and what you say. all of that is out the window now. >> does that make him fit or unfit? >> so what we're feeling is that every day is a new crisis. >> and those comments coming shortly after president trump tweeted i believe that james comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. totally illegal? very cowardly. >> a northwest attorney breaking his silences of months of being fired by president trump. >> elizabeth warren connecting that to the fact that you had jurisdiction over trump tower. are you drawing this connection in. >> i've lived long enough to
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know anything was possible. so i don't know. to this day hai have no idea whi was fired. >> let's start in new jersey not far from the president's bedminster estate. kelly o'connell is standing by. what's the latest reaction to comey's testimony? >> reporter: well, we saw that there are a number of lawmakers who think there are new questions that need to be explored and the prous trafrust that you've heard from both parties, frustration directed at the president forn not being in the normal lane of keeping quiet about such matters and lashing out at the fired fbi director. here days later the president using his twitter feed to accuse comey of additional leaks. that would be a serious allegation. so the president still taking on the man he fired from that job. we've also seen how there is frustration among republicans who believe that the question
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about were there any improper associations or contacts between people in president trump's orbit and russian operatives. a frustration that that investigation has gone on for a long time and no one in a position of authority has been able to say publicly that there's any evidence of that and the investigation keeps going on. notably today the head of the republican national committee, the niece of mitt romney, she's also a longtime trump supporter. she appeared on television this morning and expressed that frustration about when will the investigation wind down if there isn't evidence that's come forward yet. here's her take. >> this is a fishing expedition to try and run out the clock for the democrats hoping to make aims in 2018. >> are you calling for an end to the senate and house intelligence committee investigations? >> i'm calling for an end to the investigations about president trump's campaign colluding with the russians.
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there's been no evidence of it. i don't think that should continue. >> reporter: and of course investigations do continue with additional attempts to seek out information from witnesses. so we know that the attorney general, jeff sessions who was a trump surrogate during the campaign season, and of course he was at that time an alabama senator, he had two meetings with the russian ambassador that he did not disclose during his confirmation hearing and had to correct that. there's an allegation there may have been a third meeting at a public event at a hotel in washington where many people were around. not a private meeting but they may have had some contact with the then senator and the russian ambassador. his spokesperson said that did not happen. denies it flatly. that has brought about a request for the attorney general to say more. and so it is expected that on tuesday he will talk to the senate intelligence committee. what he will not do is appear at
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a scheduled hearing for his department, the department of justice budget. so often the heads of departments will go up on capitol hill, talk about what the needs of the appropriations for their department would be, standard sort of thing. however after the comey testimony, some democrats came up publicly saying that i wanted to ask in that setting about the russian contacts and things the attorney general should have reported or questions they have about that so he is now not going to that public televised hearing. he'll send his deputy instead and that's raised questions about where is jeff sessions in this process. he says he wants to answer questions in the appropriate forum, that being the intelligence committee. that ooh what we expect will unfold next week. >> we're looking forward to see how much he is going to reveal, if he's had any question with the president leading up to this testimony. kelly 0 didno'donnell, very muc
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prea appreciate it. take a listen to this. >> the president said he's going to address the issue of the tapes, whether the tapes address next week. that's a decision that the president will make in consultation with his chief lawyer marc kasowitz and the president said he'll address it next week. >> i want to bring in a immediate media reporter and a washington correspondent for usa today. paul, i'll start with you. what's your reaction tction to . either the recordings exist or that don't or is this a strategy? >> the president has a history of saying i might be taping this conversation or i'm taping this conversation in a way to gain leverage in his discussions with reporters or anybody else. i have no reason believe there actually are tapes and i can't imagine if there are that the
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white house would want to turn them over without a fight. even this morning one of the president's sons was indicating that the president might very well have said please -- you know, i'll like it if you could see your way fit to releasing michael flynn. so i can't imagine the president has tapes. i can't imagine they want to release them without some sort of a fight over protect that information. >> why would he allude to the fact that he could have tapes? and let's not forget there have been stories that we learned when private citizen donald trump used to record the conversations that he had while at trump tower. >> right. and we've actually heard from several reporters who, as paul noted, have said that donald trump threatened them in some way with some sort of tapes. but we've never seen any of those come out. james comey himself said he hopes there's tapes. it's clear that he feels confident whatever tapes come
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out will show his side. i have reporting on friday night, kellyanne conway was telling people that that the president asked her to say that james comey would wait and see, he took that to say it's a no comment. he was trying to explain what the trump lawyers told them to say. but my sources indicate that she was trying to push trump into saying that there was just no comment on the tapes to keep themselves out of that thorn yo territory of potentially having to release them if they exist or admitting that they don't exist at all. >> why not say there are tapes or not? it's that simple. tapes or not tapes. >> i don't know if you've ever spent any time in reality television. there's a terrific story about this a couple of days ago. the way he rolls it out he says come back in a couple of weeks and i'll tell you. he builds suspense for these things. it's an old reality television kind of tactic. tune in next week for something exciting and that's what the president is doing.
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>> it seems like it works. what do you think is going to happen on the 23rd when they want to see the tapes, when they're expecting the recordings? >> i'm sure there will be something that will push back any sort of release of tapes or as paul was indicating, they might try to keep them private. if the administration wanted to push aside the russia investigation and move on with their agenda as they've said over and over again. just coming out one way or the other saying there are tapes who or no tapes would be helpful. using this wait and see mitt thod of doing this is not the way to push aside a russia investigation. >> if there are no tapes i don't know how one talks their way out of it although i have been prized before. the president tweeting this morning, attacking james comey and the democrats. i want to play for you a shorter version of an earlier comment i played of republican senator lindsey graham. take a listen.
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>> here's what's so frustrating for republicans like me. you may be the first president in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talk about an investigation that if you were quiet would clear you. >> do you see signs of the president's support eroding? >> more to point. senator graham is right. they share an agenda on immigration, share an agenda on health care and probably on tax reform. but everything is getting swamped under in this investigation. and the president's comments just keep extending it, extending the conversation about things other than what they want to talk about. plast week was supposed to be infrastructure week and even the president himself couldn't stick to that topic and kept injecting other things into the conversation. it's impossible for the republicans to decide what they can comment on because they're
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surrounded by microphones asking them what do you think about the president's latest tweet. >> i like the bunny ears you used there. i want to turn to attorney jeff sessions hearing on tuesday. do you think this is a knee jerk reaction? what do you think his calculation is? >> clearly he recognizes thatri russian investigation he needs to trade lightly. testifying in front of the intelligence committee is a good thij. getting it out there. it seems we're getting day after day of explosive hearings on capitol hill. not in a long time have we seen the attention of the entire country on these hearing rooms in congress. but we're going to get another one where jeff sessions may give us more information ants the meetings he may have had with the russian ambassador.
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this just further proves that the russia story isn't going to go away. and it might be precarious situation for jeff sessions. the president has been unhappy with sessions in weeks and this may be a big moment for him to somehow mend the relationship in some way. >> that's what i wanted to ask and i want you to weigh in on this. how big of a risk is this for sessions. on the one hand u he ears talking about his dealings or not dealings with the russians and how much hef met with him and what he did not disclose and why he didn't disclose it and then you have the stories emerging about the fact that sessions is likely or possibly on the skids with the president himself. so he's in a really precarious position. >> keep in mind, i don't know at this hour whether this is going to be a public or a private hearing. i don't know if he's testifying on camera or in closed sessions. that's the question we have to look out for. it's a difficult situation for jeff sessions. remember, the other thing they're going to be asking him about is what role did the russia investigation play in if
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firing of james comey and why were you considering that since you had supposedly recused himself from the russia investigation. it's basically a mind field he's walking into and that's exactly right. he is not only trying to preserve his own -- protect his own legal jeopardy as it were. he's trying to answer the questions of the senators appropriately in this session and he's trying to serve the client of one, which is donald trump who at me moment might say he didn't like an answer. >> i wonder in making a decision as to whether or not it's going to be a an open or closed session, which serves the investigation better. we want to see the session because not only is it incredible to watch, the q&a going back and forth and the information we glean as the public, bhu whiut which benefit. sorry, we ran out of time.
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welcome back. as we've been talking about for the last hour, looking ahead, attorney general jeff sessions in two days, testifying before the senate intel committee. the ag recently confirming his appearance. his testimony on tuesday will focus on new questions which came up during james comey's testimony from last thursday. i want to bring in former senator bob graham, leader of the joint congressional investigation into the september 11th attacks. he's the author most recent cently of "america, the owner's manual." what do you think we can expect of the attorney general's appearance on tuesday in front
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of your former committee? >> i think there are going to be several blocks of questions. one will be what was his involvement in any during the campaign relative to russians. that probably is mainly going to be done in closed session. then the questions that were raised by former director comey on things like what was his relationship with the president, what happened at that critical valentine's day meeting where he was invited to leaf tve the roo. and finally the question of he's recused himself from the russian investigation because of his possible involvement. was that inconsistent with him being involved in the decision to fire mr. comey and hire a new fbi director. >> let's talk about that critical meeting that you brought up in which sethss wssis asked to leave the room and comey stayed with the president.
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how do you think he would answer something like that? this is more like feelings versus the actual facts. is this going to be sessions sitting down saying, well, this is what happened. i stayed and then i was asked to leave and i left. would this be sessions saying well i felt as if i should be staying there because i am technically comey's boss and i should be in the room while the president wants a meeting with comey. >> i think there's going to be a lot or public testimony, a portion of it at least in the attorney general sessions interview with the committee than we saw last thursday with director comey. i don't know how he's going to answer that question but i imagine he's going to try to do it in a way that is as respectful as possible to president trump, for instance saying, if the president of the united states asks you to leave the room, that's your orders, and it's not for you to raise
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with the president what the appropriateness of his order. >> right. we don't yet know if this is going to be an open or closed session on tuesday. how is that decision made and from you personally, what do you think benefits the investigation more, an open or closed session with sessions? >> what determines that is how much of the material that's going to be discussed is classified and will require a closed session, how much can be made available to the public. i personally think that we overclassify far too much material, frankly a lot of classification is done in order to cover up the incompetence of a particular agency or their investigation in a specific activity. i think the committee and the public is served by having as much of this made public as possible so that the public
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doesn't come away with a feeling that the curtain has been drawn between them and the truth and they're sitting on the wrong side of that curtain. >> senator this morning as senate minority leader chuck schumer outlined the questions that he wants sessions to answer, i want you to take a listen to that. >> first, did he interview with the russian investigation before he recused himself. second, what safeguards are there now so that he doesn't interfere? third, he says he was involved in the firing of comey and the president said comey was fired because of russia. how does that fit in with his recus recusal. it doesn't stand up well to me. and fourth, he's been involved in the selection of the new fbi director. did he talk about the russian investigation with them. >> senator, are those the questions that you would ask and do you think schumer is missing anything there? >> the one thing i think chuck might have added is what was
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sessions' involvement with the russians during the campaign before president trump came president trump. that's going to be much of the focus of the question of russian involvement in our election and were they aided or assisted by anyone, specifically anyone from one of the campaigns. so that with addition, i think chuck has done a good job of laying out the agenda for tuesday's hearing. >> sessions ducked out of a previously scheduled appropriations hearing saying it wasn't quote the appropriate forum for questions on russia. what do you think about that? >> he was right. the appropriations hearing is supposed to be focusing on the budget of the department of justice. and any recommendations that he might have or defenses of the president's budget for the department of justice. it's not a forum that's
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appropriate for the kind of questions about u.s. involvement with russia and the role that jeff sessions has played both during the campaign and subsequently as attorney general. it's the right group of senators are going to be asking him the questions on tuesday. >> i want to talk a little bit more about sort of the broader russia investigation and bob mueller's role in all of it. reporting today that bob mueller is filling out his team of investigators adding people with extensive criminal prosecution experience, including an attorney who tried the leaders of enron. you've been open, senator, with your doubts about mueller. what do you think of this move and does it reassure you at all. newt gingrich also calling some of these folks dangerous. >> it does encourage me that mr. mueller is bringing on a very professional crew. in fact i think the house and senate intelligence committees ought to be adding to their
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regular staff people who have expertise in areas such as financial forensics. because i think following the money trail is going to be an important part of coming to the ultimate truth of this matter. my concerns with mr. mueller was during the 9/11, he was operating at the direction of the white house to withhold much of the information, particularly that which related to the saudi recall in 9 sl-- role in 9/11 w i think was much deeper than what has been described to the american people. >> thank you for joining us. president trump may be losing one of his allies on the twor world stage. british prime minister is clinging to power.
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welcome back. i'm yasmin vossoughian. at the half-hour, here's what we're monitoring. with ten days of spring remain, sizzling summer weather has arrived in new york city. near record temperatures in the low 90s are expected along the eastern seaboard today. the midwest will see highs hovering around 09 and the heat waive should last through tuesday. turning back to the russia investigation and the reaction to jim comey's testimony on thursday. a number of republicans reacted by rallying to president trump's defense on the sunday talk shows. take a listen. >> the president clearly does not fully understand or appreciate the boundaries but he should. i'm not excusing his behavior. but i'm saying that there were a lot of people in government who should have set him straight. >> let's talk about this.
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joining me you now, elizabeth price. good to talk to you on this sunday. is it not reasonable to expect the president to understand the boundaries between the fbi and the white house? >> look, i mean, what boundaries would be my legal response. the fbi director works for the attorney general and the attorney general works for the president of the united states. all of these individuals have their jobs by the pleasure of the president's appointment with the advice and consent of the senate. they can be fired by him at any time and for any reason. in fact one of the most remarkable things to me about the comey hearing and his testimony was how many times he referred to the fbi as an independent agency. that's absolutely as a legal matter completely and utterly false. it's not an independent agency at all. and in fact the only reason why the fbi director has a ten-year term limit is because of what happened with j. edgar hoover. you may remember he was the
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infamous fbi director who served for like 48 years, i think. and he got a little too big for his britches, so to speak. so congress decided to reign in the fbi director by limiting him to no more than a ten-year term. the last thing you want is an independent fbi director. >> but by saying independent, could he have meant there that it's not political, and whether you have a republican in the white house or a democrat in the white house or republican or democrats leading the house and senate, it doesn't matter, the fbi is still the fbi? >> yeah, the fbi is the fbi. but realize of course, that the fbi again is taking its direction from the attorney general and ultimately to the p president. they all work for the president. as a mat are of constitutional theory under article 2, this is all within the president's complete discretionary authority. if he wants to turn to the attorney joan or the fbi director saying shut down this
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nfths, which is not what he did, he was much softer than that, shubt done this investigation or go investigate this guy, he can do so. >> i want you to look to sam you bhuell. take a listen. >> i also think the claim is not redable in these circumstances. if you look back at what the president was saying during the cam wayne, he's constantly commenting on the clinton e-mail investigation. he's watching that thing like a hawk. his people are all over every step that the fbi is taking. for the white house to present a story we're naive about criminal investigations and we don't know how the fbi works, i don't think that's very plausible. >> fair? >> well, i mean, look, fair but irrelevant as a legal matter. again, the president is in charge here. and this idea that the fbi is somehow independent from the president, that's more a recent
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sort of post-watergate tradition. but it's a tradition and only a tradition. it has no basis in actual law, either statutory law or constitutional law. for example, congress does make certain federal agencies independent and officers independent. members of the federal trade commission or the federal elections commission, for example, are independent. that's an independent agency because congress has passed stutes that say that the president can't fire them expect for good cause. so that statute creates a wall of separation between the president and those particular officers. we don't have that kind of statute here with the fbi. so it's just tradition but it has no -- >> but can the president say hey, lay off flip, can he say ease up on your investigation of flynn? >> absolutely, yes. >> there's knock wrong with that? >> absolutely nothing wrong with it either statutorily or as a mat ur of constitutional law.
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>> even if we were to find out that there was more that they were looking into, that things for emerging on the president as well, there's still nothing wrong with that? >> that's correct, as long as what the president is doing is within his constitutional wheel house. someone asked me could the president be guilty of obstruction of justice. it depends on the context. if he's trying to obstruct a hearing under a article 3 court, that could be. could he murder someone, of course not. but if he's doing something within his constitutional discretionary authority, he can certainly say investigate or alternatively don't investigate x, y or z. >> i have another piece of sound. i want to take a listen to that and then we'll talk. >> if he's got an improper purpose, he's doing this for a
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reason to profetect himself or friends, obstruction of justice law wouldn't say well because this person thought they could get away with it or justify to themselves that, you know, rational niezized that there wa nothing wrong, that means they wouldn't have the criminal intent, the law would not say that. >> i mean does he have a point there? and to go even further, jumping off of what you said, if in fact, you know, the president said hey, lay of of flynn. he's protecting a friend theree. you're the president of the united states. you can't protect a friend. this is a man you appointed to the nsa. you can't treat him as a friend. >> look. i mean, there's many layers -- >> and really where are the checks and balances there if in fact that's true? >> political accountability to the people via lxs and oelectio
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impeachment. to the point that people want to make this obstruction of justice, there's a million reasons. think about it. the president has the authority under article 2 of the constitution to pardon people. but we don't say, for example, that the president can't pardon a certain person because he has a corrupt intent. he lies the guy. he's known him for a long time and he can't pardon him. the pardon power like the power to head the investigative branch is a discretionary authority of the president. he can pardon anybody he wants to, corrupt purpose or no and he can direct the investigation or noninvestigation of any person corrupt motive or no. you don't put discretionary limits on constitutional authority ap and if you do you invite article 3 nonelected nonaccountability judges to second-guess the president's
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authority. you never want to have a constitutional regime that sets up that way. we the people cannot vote the president in or impeach him. >> really interesting stuff. appreciated you joining me on that sunday. thank you. well last week's elections in the uk affect president trump's visit to that country. and meet the queen. 60% of women are wearing the wrong size pad and...
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welcome back. in britain teresa may is fighting for her political life. the prime minister lost her majority in parliament after calling a snap election to strength then her hand. i want to go live to london. how did this come down to a fight for survival for teresa may? >> hi, yasmin. the british prime minister took a big gamble and it backfired in a very big way. this is a crisis of her own
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making. britain's election was three years away. he didn't have to call for the snap poll but she did it thinking her conservative party would cruise to the victory and give her a stronger hand in the upcoming brexit negotiations. instead her party lost the majority, britain has a weak government and no negotiating position. and to get help in passing negotiation she's teaming up with the dup. but these guys are similar to the religion rights in the u.s., very socially conservative right wing and it's not clear at all that this alliance will last. a lot of anger within her own conservative party which is a coalition of itself doesn't always see eye to eye. two of her top aides have had to resign. she's reshuffling the cabinet and it's not clear this is enough. there are speculations that she could face a leadership challenge and much sooner than we think.
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listen to what george osborne, the former uk chancellor who was fired by teresa may last year had to say about that. >> teresa may is a dead woman walking, it's how long she's going to remain on death row. >> what's your guess? >> i think we'll know very shortly. >> he went on to say we could see this as early as next week, perhaps. obviously that would mean a lot of instability for the uk, a scenario they would like to avoid at this stage. >> we do know that president trump was invited by the queen to visit the uk. we also know and remember sort of the twitter fight that he had with the mayor of london after the terror attack there. do you think all of this is going to affect the president's visit? >> frankly, that's tbd. the guardian, one of the papers here broke a story suggesting that donald trump told teresa may in a phone call that he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to britain until the british public supports anymore
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coming. downing street has denied the report and a white house speaksman saspeaks man smokes man said that the subject never came up. >> do you think the tides could turn for him if in fact that is what he said? >> we'll have to see. it would be a big step for the queen to withdraw the invitation. that is not -- the buckingham palace does not like to get involved in politics this way. that would be outside of the norm, some extenuating circumstances would have to happen. >> certainly times are a changing there. thank you for joining us. "the new york times" editorial head lien says it's if olympics for trump apologists. perspective ossen the comey hearing and the impact on general public opinion ap and next hour, why his critics don't necessarily mind all of that tweeting. what if we pull customer insights from the data
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welcome back. marchers making their voices heard in los angeles at the resist march against president donald trump. cities around the country are taking part to voice concerns of the lgbt community. many marchers upset with the trump administration saying he's topped his administration with many foes of lgbt rights advances. they're paying tribute to the people wounded and killed in the pulse nightclub shootings. tomorrow marks one year since that day. coming up, a spectacle of the to ky hearing is one thing. but imagine president trump testifying under oath before a senate committee live on television. that conversation is next. what do you have there?
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mr. president, let's don't make a circus out of your presidency. if you want to come to the judiciary committee and testify
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under oath, we'll put comey right by you. it would be the highest rated tv show in the history of the world, but it's not good for our democracy. >> that was senator lindsey graham hinting at the spectacle that captured the attention of more than 19 34million american on thursday as james comey took the stand before the intel community. the spectacle shows no signs of winding down any time soon. joining me now, author ray suarez. thank you for joining me on this sunday. zo >> good to be with you. >> we just heard senator lindsey graham saying if president trump testified under oath it would be bad for democracy. what do you think he meant by this? >> i think he meant he wants a more stable, more predictable, in color inside-the-lines trump administration and he's not getting it five months in.
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i understand what lindsey graham wants. the idea that it would be bad for democracy for a president who has a used his own fbi director of lying under oath in front of congress, the idea that trump testifying would be bad for democracy, i can't go there with him. >> 19 million people tuned in to watch jim comey testify, which is just incredible, that number. how do you explain this? how do you explain the public's level of interest in the russian investigation, in what's been going on in the trump administration and everything that happened on thursday? >> if the matters that jim comey was talking about on capitol hill this week were obscure, if they weren't the subject of -- in effect, whether the trump administration is even going to continue in office, i would say it's kind of weird that it got that much interest. but we've been building up to this kre shcrescendo for weeks
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about who spoke to ambassador kislyak, about the other agencies who were monitoring russian communications only once they were in the middle of the conversation did they realize they were speaking to americans. it's that thing standing on the shoulders of every new revelation that's building up that created the big comey ratings this week. >> we've known president trump for quite some time, not just as the president for the last couple of months, but also as a reality star, of course, being sort of the host of "the apprentice." do you see some commonalities between his time as a reality host and now serving president in the way he approaches his presidency? >> i think it would be a good idea for everybody to remember the relationship that donald trump had with the news business before he became a candidate for president. he loved publicity. he longed for the cameras. he wanted them documenting everything that he did at a new casino, a new golf course, a
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beauty pageant where he was being photographed with contestants preparing for the final showdown on pageant night. he loved the limelight. but in those situations, it was far easier for the president to control the eventual message. it's much harder now that he's got the job that he's got, and it's also much harder because he doesn't realize he can't tell parts of the truth and let it out like fishing line and not eventually be pounced on, which is happening again and again. >> do you think the spectacle is ever going to end, the fascination with all that's going on? >> i thought fairly early on that he would be basically jumped by his own people, who would say, look, you can't do what you're doing. it's not going to work over the course of four years. imagine four years like this. >> even if they tell him things, it doesn't seem like he's listening. >> exactly.
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that's what i was getting to. this idea that you can tell him what he needs to do, the fact that he has advisers other than the ones named donald are becoming more far-fetched. i'm sure he's getting legal advice, i'm sure he's getting ethical advice, and i'm almost sure he's not listening to what he's being told. >> on the comey testimonies as well on the democratic side, how does that so-called tarmac meeting between former attorney general loretta lynch and james comey compare to the allegations? >> it's hard to imagine something that's going to end up mattering less over time. we now have a president who is from the same party as the senate, the house, and, a lot of people suggest, the idealogical orientation of the supreme court. the idea that what democrats did long ago is going to end up mattering in the months to come
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is really hard to see. >> that would be quite a testimony, though, i have to say, if president trump were to testify under oath. wow. ray suarez, thanks so much for joining me. appreciate it. that will do it for me this hour. it is picked up in the next hour about a country key to stop isis. why did they fund terrorism? i'm yasmin vesuvian. thank you for watching. so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. super poligrip free made even the kiwi an enjoyable experience try super poligrip free. ♪
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